Here at GeoVisions, we send people abroad (mostly Americans) and some need a visa, depending on what they're doing and where they're going. Also, the other side of GeoVisions (The U.S. Summer Work and Travel side) is designated by the U.S. Dept. of State for the J-1 Visa program for Work and Travel. 100% of the college students coming to the US on this program need to qualify for a J-1 Visa.
What exactly is a visa?
Essentially, a travel visa is a document that shows you’re allowed to enter a specific country, for a specific length of time, to do a specific thing such as tour or study or work.
Americans Don't Need One For France | Yes They Do!
So that's the issue, really. If you're a tourist and you're headed to France (and your from the US) you don't need to go to a consulate or embassy and get a visa to enter France. You can stay 90-days, visa-free. Almost without question, countries in the Schengen Area -- a coalition of 26 mostly European countries as far north as Norway and as far south as Greece -- allow tourists to visit for up to 90 days without a visa.
But! GeoVisions sends Au Pairs to France. (We send them to six other countries too ... but we're just using France as the example.) What's an Au Pair? The French term "Au Pair" means "on par" or equal. GeoVisions Au Pairs travel to Australia to experience Australian life while living with an Australian family and caring for their children in exchange for room, board and a monthly salary.
I digress. So if you're a tourist headed to France, you don't need a visa. If you're an Au Pair headed to France, you need a visa. A student visa at that. And you will need to take anywhere between 10 and 20 hours of French language courses while you're there.
See? Just when you thought you had it all figured out.
Read the entire article, How To Get A Visa: A Beginner's Guide To Travel Documents here. It isn't that long but it's full of great information about travel documents. What's My First Move, What Will It Cost and Can I Make The Process Faster are sections you may want to read.